US shutdown: Over 700,000 govt workers face unpaid leave, army to continue to be paid

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama signed a law late Monday night to make it sure that the US military personnel will continue to be paid even if the government is forced to shut down at midnight, Dispatch News Desk reported.

The measure covers service members, including reservists who are on active duty during the shutdown. It also covers civilians and Defense Department contractors deemed essential.

Later, the US government began a partial shutdown for the first time in 17 years, potentially putting more than 700,000 government workers on unpaid leave, closing national parks and stalling medical research projects.

The move came after the Senate and the House of Representatives failed to reach an agreement on a budget plan to avert a government shutdown.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives insisted on delaying Obama’s Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, as a condition for passing the budget plan. But President Obama and Democratic leaders said they wouldn’t negotiate on healthcare reforms.